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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PERS: Too big even for Microsoft

We whined yesterday that the O's version of the Oregon PERS beneficiary database was too filtered to be of much practical use. In response, Mark Friesen of the O gave us all a link to the full database file -- a heavy, heavy .csv file running over 3 megabytes. Older versions of Excel can't handle it, and even translated into a web page by a text editor, it's a monster.

Anyway, here's an html page with the whole list, Aardvark to ZZ Top. Not much more useful than what the O has provided -- maybe less -- but we'll keep working on it. Maybe we'll try for three files that older Excel can handle.

While we do that, think about it -- there are more than 105,000 PERS beneficiaries. And if each of them has one other sympathetic voter in their family or household, that's 210,000 votes leaning heavily against government employee pension reform in Oregon. No wonder John Kroger's the state attorney general, and the place is going broke.

UPDATE, 11/30, 4:06 p.m.: Update (with an Excel file) here.

Comments (15)

And then think of all the current .gov employees local, state, and fed and then all the contractors who exist solely on .gov contracts and then you see it's quite the miracle that the PPS bond measure failed.


OpenOffice doesn't have a problem with more than 64k rows. I'm not terribly fond of it, but the price is right!

That is exactly the numbers game that liberals hit on over the last 20 years. They figured out that they could buy votes with taxpayer money. They made the choice to focus large sums of money on public union members in order to buy votes.

As John points out, it is exactly the same process used in Greece and other Euro countries. The non-union working class is forced to transfer money to the segment of the population that votes Progressive. The Progressive politicians take the money and hand it out to friends and family.

Most of the politicians in Oregon follow this model. They all are determined to shovel as much tax money as possible to friends and family while they are in office. Any talk of "reform" brings out the big guns. Everyone is enlisted to protect the gravy train.

Repeat the process until bankruptcy. I don't think Progressives have a plan after bankruptcy. They just want to get rich before we go broke and then they'll let someone else deal with it.

Same as it ever was.

(And no, it's not the named parties involved! Here in the 21st century Republicans/Conservatives are as self serving in opposition and crooked in power as Democtrats/Progressives. The glorious future is here!)

210,000 votes you say?

Lets include in that voter block all the children of the PERS beneficiaries who don't want either mom or dad looking to them for financial support.

That data needs something like Access or oracle to process. Excel kind of sucks with real world data.

OK, slow day. I summed it up:

Sum $228,040,694.58/month
Sum $2,736,488,334.96/year

PV ($451,580,390,096.78)
20 yrs @ 4% per annum

Now who knows today's balance of what they actually have in the account so we know our unfunded liability.

I gotta say, I just don't see $451B in the account today. That's about 30 biennial budgets for the state of Oregon, right?

Just think 1% of that going to schools. Just think every PERS reicpient who moves out of state won't pay OR $0.01 in income tax on that amount.

"210,000 votes you say?"

Oregon has 3.5M. Probably at most 2M are registered to vote. Standard election, 40% show up = 800,000.

Think of all those PERS accounts showing up 100% (give the public employee unions credit, they do get out the vote) to make sure their benes are protected = 200K out of 800K total.

That bloc will vote in lock-step.

Steve, what formula are you using for PV? A present value of $451 billion is about 167 years of $2.7 billion annual payments. (The $2.7 billion of annual payments DOES match what PERS has on its website, on page 18 of this document:


"what formula are you using for PV?"

One that assumed annual pmts as monthly pmts.

My screw-up and my apologies to all the deserving PERS members:

($37,631,699,174.73) = PV

$37B makes a lot of diff obviously (still about 5 years of Oregon's state budget.)

I'd really be curious how much money is in the PERS acct today.

Steve, that's something I've done before with calculations. It looks like the PERS fund data is posted monthly on the Treasury website, here:


And we're outta' here and moving to NJ where it's, what? Crap, worse. I can't win.

"It looks like the PERS fund data is posted monthly"

Interesting, the fund is worth $57B. So you need about $42B to support the existing retirees.

Then I read the report that another 70K are able to retire, so they have about $15B to support those.

All this assumes they don't have another 2008 year (or a Jul-Sep 11 where NAV dropped 10%).

I just want to say to Andy that this has nothing to do with Liberals. I am so tired of every time someone has a complanit they have to blame a Liberal or Conservative. That is alienating and just keeps us from focusing on how to fix it. I am a Liberal and I hate PERS. I think it was designed by people that were simply ignorant and we have those on both sides of the aisle. Let's get it changed!!

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